A bit overdue, but better late than never.

Back in October the two of us went to see HRH Ray Mears in Tunbridge Wells. Ray was promoting his new Northern Wilderness book/TV series.

He proved to be a very capable speaker. What struck me most was the sincerity and honesty with which he spoke. He was very earnest and came across as someone who genuinely cares. Also, I am always impressed with anyone who can get up and talk for nearly two hours (!) on any subject. There was a short break half way through, during which time we managed to neck a quick pint of Speckled Hen and spend money on some of the Woodlore merchandise. Paul bought a copy of the new book and I bought a T-shirt.

I must confess to a slight immature moment. Ray kept using the word ‘beaver’. Which always makes me giggle. And I get the feeling Paul’s good humour started to wane because I kept nudging him and whispering, ‘he just said ‘beaver’.’ Snigger snigger.

I sometimes felt Ray’s sincerity blinkered his observations. He often said how peaceful the indigenous people of Canada were, and how respectful they were of the natural world, its resources, and the lives of those animals (and humans) who live in the boreal forest. And then told us about a brutal and unnecessary massacre one tribe committed against another, and how each tribe wanted firearms so they could dominate the others! Oh well.

But that’s just cynicism. Because he spoke very tenderly and fondly on his subject, and it was hard not to be impressed.

At the end he did a book signing. So we queued up so Paul could get the new book signed, plus he brought along his copy of Wild Foods as well. He asked if we camped out ourselves and we told him we did, that we had since our teenage years, all along the North Downs. Which is exactly where Ray had started his own adventures.


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